Family: Reflecting on Changes & Possibilities

Air Plane Coping Strategies Part 2:

Yesterday, I couldn’t post anything.  The flight was delayed Saturday evening, and I barely made my connection Sunday morning.  Then, most of the afternoon/evening was spent with my family.

Here are some photos of what I used  to cope with the 2.5 hour delay, crowded air planes, and stress of trying to get to my connection on time.

On the positive side, the airport’s counter service and flight attendants were amazing and compassionate in helping me cope with the delays and flight changes.  On arrival, the bus driver was helpful and kind; he asked questions and let me know when to get off the bus.  And the hotel concierge got me checked in and settled without any issues.

Family

This time around there was less pressure on everyone.  Staying at the hotel gives me the space I need to take care of myself and feel safe.  Being close to public transportation means I can come and go as I please and be able to visit family for hours at a time.

We are all working hard to get to know each other as adults.  My aunts, uncle, and I are building relationships through open communication, compromise, and love for each other.  When we disagree, we talk about it and resolve the issues instead of stomping off and yelling and holding grudges.

They don’t feel forced to play host to a guest and entertain me all the time.  I don’t feel forced to be talkative and entertaining all the time.  We give each other space; do everyday things; and enjoy quiet time together.  We spend time in groups or one on one; and this time around no one feels left out or excluded by accident or on purpose.

It feels really good to be able to come home to family and enjoy our time together.

Reflection Topics

News about my parents – their health is worsening.  My aunts and uncle tell me that my dad worries about me; that he’s happy I am safe and happy too.

Reconnecting with mom’s side of the family – starting small with my cousins.  Moving on with others as time goes on.  But not sure I want to go back to the place I was raised.

Writing to my dad – My dad told his family that he heard from a cousin I was happy living in the Pacific Northwest.  He also told them he was glad that I was safe and happy more than anything else.  With my dad, there was a lot of good mixed in with the bad before puberty.  So maybe it’s time to write to him…if I can find a way to do that and make sure he’s the only one to read the letter

Conclusion

I’ve changed since walking away in 2012.  Seems like my family members have changed too.  This trip, while unexpected, really brought home that family changes, people change, and sometimes a happy ever after does come true.

So it’s time to reflect.  Time to reconsider what is possible.  And what is not possible.  I won’t ever move back here.  But maybe I will budget and create time in my calendar for a yearly visit.

Thanks for reading.

Quotes & Affirmations: Choosing Love as a form of vengeance

 

This week, the OCD is really strong.  I am struggling with compulsions to be self-destructive, let shame take over, and push people away because I don’t deserve to be around good people.  Instead of being self-destructive, I chose to watch crime dramas, procedurals, and super hero shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime.  When TV & movies didn’t work, I re-read one of my favorite books about overcoming obstacles.

Here is the quote from Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh

“I’ll find my vengeance in living a life overflowing with happiness,” Mahiya vowed, “In drowning myself in love, not hatred.”

This quote reminds me that I have choices.  And so does anyone whose survived trauma and abuse.

Mahiya survived over 300 years living with a narcissistic father who hated the sight of her and blamed her for the fact that his wife wouldn’t forgive him for cheating on her with her twin sister.  Mahiya’s aunt was the ruler of the territory she lived in.  The aunt used her as a tool for vengeance and tortured her for fun as long as she was useful.  Then Mahiya’s father dies, and the aunt no longer has a reason to keep her alive.

If Mahiya can survive living in that kind of situation for 300 plus years, I can get through one or more nights of flashbacks & nightmares that trigger OCD.

So can anyone else as determined and courageous and resilient as Mahiya.  Because survival is one thing.  But living a life of joy & love in spite of past trauma is something else.

Thanks for reading.

Coping Challenges: Fear Responses

My Fear Response

I haven’t discussed FEAR much because the words get strangled in my throat or stuck in my mind/body/spirit and refuse to budge.

That’s what FEAR does – it paralyzes me – without my consent or awareness most of the time.

FEAR also triggers a physical response.  My muscles tense.  Adrenaline flows.  Senses get heightened.  Body starts to tremble and shake.  Head hurts.

The urge to make myself small and hide is intense.  If not hide, make myself invisible.

DO NOT DRAW ATTENTION or else…

my brain and body tell me at the same time.

“Fighting” back

What do I mean?

Learning to acknowledge and make friends with FEAR so that I use it instead of letting it use me.

Becoming more aware of the internal signals that tell me when FEAR could be triggered so I can put coping strategies or techniques into play before it is triggered.

Persisting with my goals in spite of the fear and the backlash that comes with it.

Remembering to start small and celebrate every success as a stepping stone forward.

Being kind to myself when the FEAR does take over and cause stickiness or problems with people, places, events, etc.

Letting myself and all parts of me feel FEAR instead of burying or denying it.

Recognizing that FEAR is an emotion, a protective one designed to alert our minds and bodies to avoid potential danger, not something negative or shameful that has to be exorcised.

How I “Fight” Fear

Tall order, huh?  

Baby steps.

Progress is all about baby steps.  So for now I can live with the sore neck and jaw muscles; the minor headache; and the shakes.  It will ease up and go away eventually.

Why not stop doing whatever is triggering the FEAR response?

I like speaking up for myself, talking with people, and being visible all the time.

Being me, expressing myself, writing, knitting, cooking, talking to people on my terms feels good.

I’m not going to stop just because being me triggers a built-in, past life fear response.  That was then.  This is now.  And each time this happens, the FEAR Response lessens.

It’s taken more than 10 years to get here.  It will take the rest of my life to recover with or without setbacks.  Fear is NOT in control anymore.

Conclusion

FEAR is part of life.  It can take over everything and stop people from living or enjoying life.  It can help save lives too.  There is a necessary balance to FEAR responses.  Not everyone learns that balance early in life.

BUT anyone can learn to find that balance and use it as adults.  Like anything else written on this blog, finding that balance takes courage, resilience, persistence, and patience.

I believe in you.  Maybe someday you will believe in you too.  Then we can enjoy more of life together.

Thanks for reading

Quotes & Affirmations: A quote about Parents and Origins

I’m re-reading the In Death mystery series books in random order again.  One of the main series characters is a forensic psychiatrist named Dr. Charlotte Mira.  She becomes friend/family/mother figure/mentor to Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke as the series goes on.

This quote is from Imitation in Death after the the two characters are discussing the serial killer’s psychological profile and potential next victim(s).  Lieutenant Dallas confides in Dr. Mira about a recovered memory regarding her mother.

“They weren’t your parents.”

“I’m sorry.”

“They conceived you – egg and sperm.  She incubated you, and expelled you from her body when it was time.  But they weren’t your parents.  There’s a difference.  You know there is.”

Growing up, kids & teens have a less choices or control over their lives.

Adults have more choices and control over their lives.  They can follow and repeat the cycle into another generation.
Or they can stop the cycle by making different choices.

Anyone reading this post or others here is making different choices.

Kudos to to you (guests), me, and all of us for making our own choices about life.

Thanks for reading.